Thursday, January 30, 2014


News Links, January 30-31, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Baltic Dry Index Collapses 50% From December Highs To 5-Month Lows
Hanjin Shipping to close two loss-making lines
We Are Sleepwalking Towards A Cashless Society
For years national governments have been seeking to reduce the number and size of cash transactions within and between their respective economies.
Even if you pay in cash, using a loyalty card will database your shopping information. Nevertheless, when the lights go out and servers go down, cash — and anonymity — will come back with a vengeance. -- RF
U.S. banking regulator, fearing loan bubble, warns funds
U.N. sounds alarm on worsening global income disparities
Nothing Lasts Forever; World Bank Ex-Chief Economist Calls For End To Dollar As Reserve Currency
Crisis in Argentina sparks new gold rush
In India, 2,500kg of gold is being flown in every month
Ruble Weakens to Record Low Against Basket as Currencies Slide
China Manufacturing Index Shows Contraction
Spain Misses Watered-Down Budget Deficit Targets Yet Again

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Airline Passengers Aren't Guests, They're Cargo
Airfares jumped again at end of 2013
Korean Air swings to net loss
American Airlines to add seats to three of its aircraft fleets
Europe Travel Hampered as Air Traffic Controllers Strike
Hawaiian Airlines Now Selling Extra Comfort Premium Economy Seating

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Amid Ukraine protests, some defect from government
China challenging U.S. military technological edge: Pentagon official
China expands its reach by playing chicken with the US military
EU has secret plan for police to 'remote stop' cars
The EU is developing a secret plan to give the police the power to control cars by switching the engine off remotely
Countries moving geopolitically on Arctic energy, Wilson forum told
The Subhuman Conditions That Slaves And Child Laborers Face In India Are Worse Than You Imagined
Thousands of Pakistanis flee tribal belt fearing more air strikes

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Thai army to deploy more troops amid warning of poll violence

## Energy/resources ##
Record year for offshore wind energy hides slowdown in new projects
Gamesa Closing Pennsylvania Plant After U.S. Wind Credit Expires
Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA (GAM), Spain's largest wind-turbine maker, plans to close a blade factory in Pennsylvania to cut costs after a U.S. tax incentive expired.
ExxonMobil Profit Tumbles As Energy Production Tapers
Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's largest publicly traded oil company by market value, posted lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday as it failed to offset declining production but spent heavily to find fresh reserves.
Oil Industry Starts to Squeeze Costs, Wages
Cutting the cost of everything from salaries and steel pipes to seismic surveys and drilling equipment is the central challenge for the oil and gas industry over the next five years. The tremendous increase in exploration and production activity around the world over the last ten years has strained the global supply chain and been accompanied by a predictable increase in operating and capital costs.
Why Turning a Buck Isn't Easy Anymore for Oil's Biggest Players
The problem with mining
As with oil, we are not actually running out of minerals, but the cost of extraction keeps going up. The implications for industrial civilization are screamingly clear. -- RF
Hess sells 74,000 acres of Utica shale
Hess Corp.'s chief executive said Wednesday his company decided to unload acreage in the Utica shale play in the United States because it wasn't profitable.
South Korean nuclear power plant shut; four now offline
A South Korean nuclear power plant automatically shut down on Wednesday due to a technical glitch, taking the number of reactors closed to four out of 23 and increasing the risk of power shortages over winter.
South Korea approves $7 bln reactor plans in boost for nuclear power
Iran, Iraq Plan Challenge to Saudi Control Over Oil Market
Iran expects major foreign oil investments
Chaos Breaks Out In Natural Gas, Price Tripled Since April 2012
Royal Dutch Shell halts Alaska exploration as profits fall
Oil giant Shell in Brazillian oil field sell-off
OIL giant Royal Dutch Shell is selling a £600million stake in a Brazilian offshore oil field as it continues to shake-up its business ­following its recent profits warning.
Map: Iraq's Oil & Gas Infrastructure
Low Foreign Interest in Pakistan's New Oil Blocks
California needs big steps to save water as drought worsens -governor
S. Korea''s oil consumption falls for first time in five years

## Got food? ##
Malawi Grapples With Food Shortages
California Farms Going Thirsty as Drought Burns $5 Billion Hole
Starving 20,000 at Damascus camp eating dogs, cats
Utah school takes lunches from kids with debts
Parents are angry with Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City after workers took lunches from up to 40 kids with unpaid balances and threw them away, several media outlets reported.

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Excellent: Simpler Ways to Stay Warm
Long-time readers know that I have always advocated heating efficiency by basically heating the body, and keeping space heating to a minimum (for example, in my home we heat only the family room). Whether or not you agree, the age of central heating is but a moment in human history, after which we will perforce return to traditional practices of keeping warm in the winter (and cool in the summer). Now is the time for people to reacquaint themselves with traditional practices and begin to implement them — before it's too late. -- RF

## Environment/health ##
Catching the mother of all bed bugs
Monarch butterflies drop, migration may disappear
Showering in Formaldehyde? Fresh Fears in West Virginia
West Virginia official says residents are breathing cancer-causing agent after chemical spill
China smog fears spur call for ban on New Year fireworks
Simple way to make stem cells in half an hour hailed as major discovery
Bird Flu Isn't Just China's Problem Anymore
As the first human cases of H7N9 bird flu infection outside of China begin to emerge—in Taiwan and Hong Kong—health officials around the world are preparing for a potentially perfect storm for a massive flu outbreak.

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
7 ways to stop NSA spying on your smartphone
Snowden Gets Nobel Peace Prize Nomination for 'Contributing to More Peaceful World Order'
Forget Metadata … The NSA Is Spying On EVERYTHING
Hackers attack Yahoo Mail accounts

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
A Forecast of Our Energy Future; Why Common Solutions Don't Work
If 3 Inches Of Snow Can Cause This Much Chaos In Atlanta, What Will Economic Collapse Look Like?
This Detroit neighborhood is so bad that $1 homes could be a rip-off

## Japan ##
Japan Looks Offshore for Cobalt Needed for Industries
Japan Sees Trouble Ahead as Trade Pact Stalls
TEPCO to create frozen walls to stop water leaks
1,415 sue builders of Fukushima nuclear plant
NHK radio regular quits after anti-nuclear commentary nixed
A veteran radio show commentator quit his job at Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) after the public broadcaster told him to drop the subject of nuclear power during the Tokyo gubernatorial election, sources said.
Is Abe headed for his next health crisis?
Thai political turmoil taking toll on Japanese firms
Gov't report shows growing population concentration in Tokyo region
Facial ID tech to be set at station

## China ##
Chinese Homebuyers Thronging Sydney Make Mini-Bubble Frenzy
Biggest Money Fund Shuns Companies on Default Risk: China Credit
China's biggest money-market fund has cut its holdings of corporate debt by more than 50 percent and sought safety in deposits as rising borrowing costs increase the threat of default.
8 new H7N9 cases ahead of live poultry ban
PetroChina delays operation of refineries on overcapacity
Shadow banking: China's wobbly house of cards
China Manufacturing Back in Contraction, Staffing Declines at Sharpest Pace Since March 2009.
China Panel Makers Turn Solar Farmers to Counter Glut

## UK ##
More than 270,000 poorest households in England face £80 council tax rise
London Plans to Use Heat from the Underground to Keep Homes Warm

## US #
Propane shortages prompting state officials to act
Supply problems in several states where propane is a crucial heating source have prompted governors and other officials to take action against vendors, investigate claims of price gouging and increase aid to low-income customers.
Fed to reduce pace of bond buying by another $10B
$1.2 trillion student loan bubble ready to pop
Cold Man Winter strikes water pipes; insurers deluged
America's largest insurance company, State Farm, says it has had so many claims for frozen pipes—28,000 in the Jan. 4-9 period of extreme cold—that it declared the situation a "catastrophe," allowing it to bring in more adjusters to handle the overload. It said the payout for such claims can be as high as $15,000.
Subprime Called Safer Makes Comeback as 'Nonprime': Mortgages
The Housing Slowdown Has Already Begun
No, The Plunge In Home Sales Was "Not" Due To Cold Weather
Housing Bubble 2.0: "More Flipping, Bigger Profits, In Less Time" With 156,862 Homes Flipped In 2013
American State of the Union: A Festival of Lies
32 Statistics That Obama Neglected To Mention During The State Of The Union Address
Why millions of Americans will never retire
Further reductions to the corn ethanol mandate wanted
Detroit May File $18 Billion Bankruptcy Plan in Two Weeks
Report: Detroit has highest childhood death rate in country
17 California communities running out of water
Need to see a doctor quickly? Avoid Boston, try Dallas
The MyRA Propaganda Begins: "A Start To A Secure Retirement" Promises Treasury Secretary

And finally...
Explosion caused by cow farts literally blows the roof off barn in central Germany, one bovine treated for burns
White House says it will review petition to deport Justin Bieber

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


News Links, January 28-29, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Euro Jobless Record Not Whole Story as Italians Give Up
French unemployment at record high of 3.3 million
Start of a Global Currency Crisis?
Struggling Peugeot Extends Stake For Cash To Chinese Partner
Bundesbank calls for capital levy to avert government bankruptcies
Germany's Bundesbank said on Monday that countries about to go bankrupt should draw on the private wealth of their citizens through a one-off capital levy before asking other states for help.
Here it comes. Governments now see that their infinite-growth Ponzi schemes are falling apart, but of course their remedy is not to change the economic system and redistribute wealth, it's to rip off private citizens. -- RF
Australian law provides for gold confiscation -- and it's not unique
Germany to feel brunt of 5,291 Airbus job cuts: source
Ukraine borrows $2 billion from Moscow, signals bailout on track
Deflation Will Return: Europe First, Then US; Global Supply Arbitrage
Argentine Prices Soar Following Peso Devaluation Which Only Benefits 20% Of Population
Scrambling Gold Mints Around The World Plead: "We Can't Meet The Demand, Even If We Work Overtime"
Overheard In A Gold Vault In Singapore: "We Need Additional Capacity", China's Appetite Is "Insatiable"
JPM Sees 28% Withdrawal From Gold Vault In One Day As Another 10 Tons Depart
Turkey More Than Doubles Main Interest Rate to Halt Lira Slump

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Airlines likely to post record losses in 2013-14 (India)
Tiger Airways Swings to 3Q Net Loss on One-Off Charges, Lower Revenue
Malaysia Airlines to cut last American route
Great Lake Airlines Suspends Service
Thousands of flights canceled by new winter blast

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Why China and the Philippines are Battling Over Rocks, Reefs
Central African Republic crisis getting even worse - UN
Central African Republic: UN 'may need 10,000 troops'
France to deploy an additional 3 000 French troops permanently in West Africa
France says it plans to expand its military presence in Africa with the deployment of at least 3 000 troops to military bases in Niger, Mali and Chad as well as a logistics and supply base in Ivory Coast.
Cuba to host Latin American summit; U.S. notably absent
U.S. seeks to rescue Iraq's Maliki with $6.2 billion Apache deal
Mexico Legalizes Vigilantes, Nabs Cartel Leader
Mexico essentially legalized the country's growing "self-defense" groups Monday, while also announcing that security forces had captured one of the four top leaders of the Knights Templar drug cartel, which the vigilante groups have been fighting for the last year.
India close to buying Japan-made military aircraft in $1.65 billion deal

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Ukraine 'to scrap' anti-protest law
GMO Protesters Arrested Outside Monsanto Meeting
San Francisco's Income Gap Captures Wall Street Spotlight: Tech

## Energy/resources ##
Harper Collides With Native Canadians' Natural Resources Claims
More Trouble in the Arctic for Shell
Thousands shiver in Manitoba as pipeline blast cuts gas supply
Chinese-led international mission to explore South China Sea for oil
New Frontiers: The Cline shale might not be the next big thing
Russia can't lose in oil deal with Iran
Iraq Says Syria War Spillover Hinders Oilfields, Pipelines
Spillover attacks from the civil war in Syria have hindered development of Iraq's gas and oil reserves and a major pipeline to the Mediterranean has been blown up dozens of times, Iraq's top energy official said on Tuesday.

## Got food? ##
Genetic Engineering Actually INCREASES Pesticide Use, DECREASES Crop Yield, And May Be Dangerous to Your Health
Let them eat cake: Farm bill deal reached; cuts SNAP by $800m per year
FDA Concealed the 'High Risk' Livestock Antibiotics Pose to People
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed at least 30 antibiotics used in animal feed to remain on the market despite its own internal analysis finding a majority of them contribute to the dangerous problem of antibiotic- resistant bacteria in people.

## Environment/health ##
How To Avert An Antibiotic Apocalypse
It looks as if the apocalypse is already here. -- RF
The silent epidemic known as valley fever
Bayer Pharmaceutical CEO: Cancer drug only 'for western patients who can afford it'
One of the benefits of being a member of the New Aristocracy. -- RF
Pesticide Exposure Linked to Alzheimer's Disease
Is Monsanto's Gene-Silencing Weapon Next?

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
NSA, GCHQ Using Data From 'Leaky' Smartphone Apps to Spy
US looks at ways to prevent spying on its spying
The U.S. government is looking into encryption techniques that could prevent eavesdroppers from spying on its own surveillance of Americans' phone records.
Israel defence computers hit by hack attack
Pentagon, scientists closing in on rapid DNA technology
Here comes the databasing of all citizens' DNA. Get ready for your cheek swab. -- RF
Snowden Says 'No Doubt' NSA Engages in Industrial Spying
FBI Appears To Have Collected Tormail's Entire Email Database... And It's Using It

## Japan ##
Sony Cut to Junk by Moody's as Mobile Devices Lure Buyers
Sony Shares Hit Hard After Moody's Cut
Japan Has Record Trade Deficit as Rising Fuel Bill Hurts Growth
Why Japan's Trade Fiasco Worries Me So Much
Japan revises teaching manuals, says islands its territory
U.S. pressures Japan to return 300 kg of plutonium
Power, gas firms to raise rates in March
Worker numbers seen falling by 8.21 million in 2030

## China ##
China's Fake Export Numbers Under Close Scrutiny
China's gold hunger — and what that means for Beijing's global financial power
Two news flashes that should remove any doubt about China's intentions regarding gold — and how it will help Beijing's plan to dominate world finance. One, Chinese consumers in 2013 bought gold equivalent to about 45% of global mine output. Two, a new gold futures contract has been launched through the Shanghai Gold Exchange — but there's a catch: you can pay for the contract only in yuan. You have sell dollars to buy the yuan, in other words, before dealing into the contracts.
China Trust "Bailout" To "Unidentified Buyer" Distorts Market As "Risks Are Snowballing"
China's Households "Massively" Exposed To Housing Bubble "That Has To Burst"
China halts poultry trading after new H7N9 cases

## UK ##
UK to Shred Over 80,000 Pages of Environmental Protections
In a sweeping overhaul of environmental regulations in the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday announced plans to slash over 80,000 pages of laws that protect the environment against business practices.
Mental Health Act detentions up 12%
Barclays to cut hundreds more investment bank jobs: source

## US ##
Working Age Americans are the Majority of People on Food Stamps for the First Time
THE Lines to Watch For a Collapse
Good News For Employed Americans: You Are Now Working Longer Than Ever
Welcome to our new low-paying, highly-subsidized economic reality
"We need to get real about the so-called renaissance, which has in reality been a trickle of jobs, often dependent on huge public subsidies. Most important, in order to compete with China and other low-wage countries, these new jobs offer less in health care, pension and benefits than industrial workers historically received."
Whose job will robots take next?
Just one thing: Using robots assumes we have the energy to make and power them. -- RF
Iowa calls for action on propane shortage
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad called Monday for President Obama to address the  propane shortage plaguing the Midwest amid freezing winter temperatures.
Families struggle to pay medical bills, survey finds
NBC News poll: Pessimism defines the state of the union
Improving Leak Detection Systems is Vital as Pipelines Get Older
Who Are The Long-Term Unemployed? (In Three Graphs)
Report indicates textbook costs on rise
An education group said more than half of U.S. college students have skipped buying textbooks due to the cost and said the decision hurt academically.
Living at home generation: a modern day feudalism awaits young Americans as the prospect of homeownership falls out of grasp.
Hedge Funds See Cheap Homes With Soured Loans: Mortgages
Orders for durable goods fizzle in December
Obama To Unveil Treasury IRAs, Or Planning For A Post-Monetization World
America's disappearing middle class
Is McDonald's doomed?

And finally...
Angry birds: Peace doves attacked after release at Vatican
Now there's a bad omen if I ever saw one. -- RF
Women Say They're Most Attracted To Guys Driving Pickups
And to further increase their chances of getting a date, men should carry guitars. -- RF

Sunday, January 26, 2014


News Links, January 25-27, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
European banks have 84 billion euro capital shortfall, OECD estimates: report
Contagion Spreads in Emerging Markets as Crises Grow
Emerging Market Contagion Spreads; Argentina, Venezuela, Turkey Roundup; 50% Tax on Internet Purchases
Dow drops 318 points on fears of slower growth
'Global gridlock': Study says congestion to jam car sales
20 Early Warning Signs That We Are Approaching A Global Economic Meltdown
Seven Shocking Statistics On Spain's Surging Joblessness
Europe's Modest Proposal To End Unemployment: Slavery
Bank-Run Fears Continue; HSBC Restricts Large Cash Withdrawals
Furious Backlash Forces HSBC To Scrap Large Cash Withdrawal Limit
Rabobank Groep May Cut Up to 2,000 Jobs at Dutch Operations
The obscene lifestyles of the new global super-rich
James Turk: We're Living Within A Money Bubble of Epic Proportion
Argentina backtracks on details of dollar control
Argentina's economy minister is backtracking on details of the government's recent announcements over the easing of currency controls.
Venezuela Enacts "Law of Fair Prices" Banning Profits Over 30%, with 10-Year Imprisonment for Hoarding
Dr. Doom is learning Mandarin
"You have to learn Mandarin," he said. "Mandarin is going to become a key language. That's the future."

## Gold ##
Gold Mint Runs Overtime in Race to Meet World Coin Demand
Market Report: Germany's gold is the story de jour
As Gold Flows From West To East Singapore Emerges As Global Storage Hub
The FT Goes There: "Demand Physical Gold" As One Day Paper Price Manipulation Will End "Catastrophically"

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Hot dog! Aircraft finance on cloud nine as new money pours in
Crisis, what crisis? The good times are rolling in the aircraft finance industry as yield-hungry investors gamble on growing demand for air travel, banishing recent jitters over funding.
Cities investing billions in airport expansions, upgrades
Japan calls off all tours to Thailand
The decision to impose an emergency decree to manage the spreading and intensifying anti-government protests in Bangkok has led to cancellations of all Japanese tours to Thailand, according to Anake Srishevachart, president of the Thai-Japan Tourist Association.
Ryanair plane to Paris looted by angry passengers
US Airways to close Moon flight operations center, affecting 600 jobs
Built less than six years ago, a state-of-the-art flight operations control center in Moon will be closing and the work transferred to Texas, a casualty in the American Airlines-US Airways merger.
Bad news on US Airways a recurring theme
Tiger Airways sells unprofitable Philippine unit to Cebu Air
The aviation market in the Philippines is overcrowded and largely unprofitable, except for market-leader Cebu.
UAE-Philippines flights "will have to be cut back"
Airlines are losing money on the UAE-Philippines route and will soon be forced to cut flights, a leading international aviation analyst organisation has warned.

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Bombings rock Egyptian capital, killing 6 people
Egypt calls early presidential election as violence spreads
China sends surveillance jets to East China Sea defense zone
Iraq asks U.S. for Hellfire missiles
UN says 140,000 fled violence in Iraq's Anbar
Airlines halt ticket sales in Venezuela
Freedom House finds decline in political freedom in 2013
Political rights and civil liberties declined around the world in 2013 for the eighth consecutive year, the annual report released by Freedom House said.
Top US commander to ask Obama to keep 10,000 troops in Afghanistan
Specter of Default Stalks Argentina
Israelis Rally Against US Plan For Strategic Jordan Valley
Japan, India agree to conduct naval drill with U.S.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
In Ukraine, protests resemble Medieval battle
Ukraine Protests Spread to Other Major Cities
War gear: Weaponry & armor of rioters in Kiev (PHOTOS)
World Cup protests spark violence in Brazil
Thai Demonstrators Block Polling Stations as Early Voting Starts
Violence in Cambodia as protesters demand release of labor activists
Anti-Hollande protesters clash with police
Can water cannons cope with flash mob riots?
Xinjiang Police Kill 6 Rioters, 6 Die in Blast, Tianshan Says

## Energy/resources ##
From "Glut" To Panic: Natural Gas Soars
The other side of the peak: Italy's collapse of oil and gas consumption
Sometimes, peak oil looks like an intellectual game that people keep playing by arguing whether it has arrived or not. But the point with oil is not how much of it is produced, somewhere, but how much you can afford to use.
Here is part of the vicious circle that is precipitating the downhill rush of industrial civilization. -- RF
Report Says Clean Coal Tech Not Present-Day Reality
Rising Costs Hit Balance Sheets of Major Oil Companies
ISO New England Burns Jet Fuel To Keep The Lights On During January Cold Snap
Petrobras to quit huge Brazil oil field -source
Frequent blackouts cost malls up to RM1 million (Malaysia)
Going nuclear—and small—with new type of reactor
Why Shale Oil Boosters Are Charlatans In Disguise
A meditation on how expensive energy (i.e., net energy decline) strangles economies. -- RF
OGP buys another week for restructure
Bondholders of bankrupt Brazil independent Oleo e Gas Participacoes (OGP) have agreed to a one-week extension to its deadline to submit a restructuring plan for the company.

## Got food? ##
Bringing home the bacon may get more expensive: First case of deadly pig virus confirmed in Canada
Railways Favouring Oil, Leaving Canada's Record Grain Crop Stuck on the Prairie
Farmers Abandoning GMO Seeds and the Reason Will Surprise You
Polar Vortex and Food Stamp Cuts Create Perfect Storm of Hunger
Extreme weather wreaks havoc on global food crops

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
The sharing economy: a short introduction to its political evolution

## Environment/health ##
Radioactive Waste Dumped by Oil Companies Is Seeping out of the Ground in North Dakota
After oil companies and state executives in North Dakota hid the news from the public that nearly 300 oil spills occured between 2011 and 2013, radioactive toxic sludge is brimming back up to the surface, bubbling forth from the ground and mixing with fresh water across the state. 
U.S. Vets Exposed to Contaminated Cadaver Parts From Labs
4 Ways Hospitals Can Harm You
Demand for more farmland worldwide poses a threat to the global environment, says UN
The Era Of Genetically-Altered Humans Could Begin This Year
Transcanada Gas Pipeline Explodes, Lights Up Sky
A ban on autos? Major cities consider going carless
Mouthwashes increase heart attack risk, scientists claim

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
CNN Says Its Main Facebook, Twitter Accounts Were Compromised
It's 'easy' for Snowden to mask his location during online chats
Told Ya So: NSA's Collection Of Metadata Is Screamingly Illegal
And it's not illegal just because it violates the Constitution – although it does (the Fourth Amendment, specifically). The illegality of the NSA's telephone metadata program is much clearer and even more disturbing than that.  The program is illegal because no law authorizes bulk collection of phone record data. To the contrary, several laws forbid it.
Google's Gmail crashes after major outage
FBI warns retailers to expect more credit card breaches
Developer finds Chrome eavesdropping bug
Any computer running the Chrome browser can be subverted to eavesdrop on conversations happening around it, claims a developer.
Hacked CNN Reports "China Dumps All US Bonds"
France Military To Up Defenses Against Cyberwar
Coke: Stolen laptops had info of 74,000 people
US retailer Michaels warns of possible payment card breach
NSA also serves economic interests: Snowden interview

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
Italy's slow collapse: how declining energy consumption affects GdP
Old Idea to Fix Inner Cities Gets New Name: 'Promise Zones'
U.S. No Longer Makes Death Chamber Drugs, And E.U. Won't Supply Them: Time To Revive The Guillotine, Say Pundits
The author's point is not that the US should make death chamber drugs (he opposes the death penalty), but that US technological capability is collapsing. -- RF

## Japan ##
Energy Economist: The burden that Japan is facing in its higher energy costs
Energy costs in Japan are reaching a critical point. The economy is growing too slowly to offset the burden of increased commodity energy imports. Renewables will add further costs.
Japan government forecasts show Abe missing budget-balance promise
Japanese government calculations indicate that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cannot meet his budget-balancing promise in coming years on the current course, suggesting he may come under greater pressure from fiscal hawks for future tax increases.
US to deploy Global Hawks to Misawa, Japan
Researchers test sail for energy-efficient cargo ship

## China ##
Self-sufficiency in China's grain production promised
Is The China Bank Run Beginning? Farmers Co-Op Unable To Pay Depositors
Shadow banking crisis looms as China Credit Trust faces default
China overtakes Japan for highest rate of death from overwork
Air pollutants soar in 74 cities
Beijing Government End-June Debt Rises 9% From End-2012

## UK ##
UK Employment: No Sign of Economic Recovery, just Desperation
Peers call for proper scrutiny of American military bases in UK used for drone strikes and mass spying
Boomerang generation: The financial implications of young and old returning home
Nigel Farage: 'Skint' Britain cannot afford HS2
Bosses focus on rising level of people dying from cold in Keighley district
Children as young as 10 with mental health problems held in police cells
The number of detentions in cells of under 18s under the Mental Health Act was 385 in 2011, 317 in 2012 and 305 in the first 11 months of 2013, the BBC said a Freedom of Information request had revealed.

## US ##
More McDonald's customers say: "I ain't lovin' it."
Natural gas soars as cold grips homes, drillers
U.S. propane shortage hits millions during brutal freeze
Gov. Walker declares State of Emergency due to cold, propane shortage (Wisconsin)
Jamie Dimon Gets $20 Million For His Worst Year As CEO, Why The Big Raise?
Bank of America's trading practices have been probed, filing shows
Pentagon to launch blimps to guard against cruise missiles
'Polar vortex' costs billions. Open next fuel bill with care.
States where all-cash buying has gone wild for the new feudal lords
All-cash offers crushing first-time homebuyers
Insatiable demand from hedge funds, private equity investors and foreign buyers, all armed with ready cash, are elbowing first-time buyers out of the housing market.
Wal-Mart's Sam's Club to cut 2,300 workers
Retail Sales Cannibalization
The Recent "New High" In Stocks Is As Bogus As The Unemployment Rate
Billionaire Compares Outrage Over Rich In S.F. To Kristallnacht
The new face of food stamps: working-age Americans
Minimum wage bills pushed in at least 30 states
Price for first-class stamp rises to 49 cents
Man dies during 8-hour wait in NYC ER waiting room

Thursday, January 23, 2014


News Links, January 23-24, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Argentina restricts online shopping as foreign reserves drop
DHL, FedEx suspend shipments to Russian customers
Express delivery companies DHL and FedEx (FDX.N) said on Thursday they had suspended foreign shipments to individual customers in Russia because of stricter customs procedures, making it harder for internet users to buy goods from abroad.
Argentine Default-Era Chaos Relived as Blackouts Follow Looting
Report: US income inequality among worst in the world
Italian Banks Need Extra $57 Billion for Loan Loss Reserves, 18% of Loans Non-Performing
Crippled eurozone to face fresh debt crisis this year, warns ex-ECB strongman Axel Weber
Here it comes– more leading economists call for capital controls
A Trend to Note: Over One-Third of Adults Unemployed
European businesses rushing to find Iran bonanza
Singapore Exchange to Add Circuit Breakers Next Month
Singapore Exchange Ltd., Southeast Asia's biggest bourse, will add circuit breakers next month that protect investors from excessive stock swings after a plunge in three commodity companies erased $6.9 billion in market value.
Venezuela announces changes to foreign currency system
Venezuela Strengthens Currency Controls in Impossible Mission to Stop Capital Flight; Airlines Collapse; End of the Line
Youth Unemployment Is Costing The World Billions
Spain Sells Record Amount of Debt Through Banks as Yields Fall
Spanish Unemployment Stays Above 25% as Rajoy Seeks Growth
Australians in Record Loan Spree as House Prices Soar: Mortgages
Australian homebuyers are borrowing at the fastest pace in four years amid record prices, straining debt levels already among the developed world's highest as interest rates are set to climb.
No end in sight for rising cost of single family homes (Canada)
Fears of global slowdown send stocks into a tailspin
Dubai confirms final deal on $10 billion debt restructuring
Nothing to see here, folks. Move right along. -- RF
After Market: Investors Fear Big Trouble from Brittle China

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Bombardier cuts 1,700 jobs to save cash after jet delays
Air NZ denies dropping flights over light loads
Singapore Airlines cuts more flights
Why Is the 787 Dreamliner Such a Hassle for Norwegian Air?
3 airlines that will keep soaring in 2014
Airlines New Polar Vortex Problem: Angry Parents

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Robert Gates on How Israel and Saudi Arabia Pressure US into Wars of Choice
Taiwan Rejects China Fishing Rules for Foreign Vessels in South
Russian police kill Islamist militant leader before Olympics
Major Rebel Faction Withdraws Ahead of Syria Talks
China in talks for more Russian arms as tensions with Japan rise
Plans are on for quick reaction force in Middle East
Turkey faces a 'war' within its borders as Prime Minister Erdogan cracks down on opponents

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
They're 'All Shook Up' and They Want the Fracking Wells to Stop
Residents of north Texas communities demand regulatory body put end to injection wells they say are behind spate of earthquakes
Ukraine's Big Brother Text: "Dear Subscriber, You Are Registered as Participant in Mass Riot"
80,000 Miners Strike for Living Wage
Burma mobs 'kill 30 Rohingyas'

## Energy/resources ##
Must read: Ten Reasons Intermittent Renewables (Wind and Solar PV) are a Problem
I have said repeatedly that renewables cannot prop up industrial civilization. I am in favor of building more renewable capacity, as that will help keep the lights on a while longer. But the belief that we can maintain civilization at this energy level using renewables is an illusion. -- RF
Must read: Megaprojects A Megaheadache For Oil Bosses
Giant oil and gas extraction projects will be giving oil industry executives headaches to match for the years ahead as delays, cost overruns and increasing risks call for new strategies to manage them. The sheer scale and complexity of such projects is threatening to outgrow the ability of even the largest oil companies to manage them.
Despite this grim reality, hysterical energy dreamers continue to insist that peak oil is dead that that technology will solve all our energy problems. Clearly this situation signifies the end of easy oil and the beginning of the age of scarcity and higher prices. It's no wonder that the Obama administration has opened its eyes and is doing everything possible to get Iran's oil back on the world market. -- RF
Germany's industrial base at risk if green energy shift fails
Germany vows reform after investors hit by wind park insolvency
Hydrogen Vehicles 2: The Technical Downside
Research engineers will often talk about what can be done technically, without considering the economic feasibility. Magazines like Scientific American and Technology Review often gush over advances that turn out to be viable only in the laboratory, not the real world. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles would seem to belong to this category.
South Africa's Implats shuts mines ahead of platinum strike
Natural gas prices above $100? Better tweak the system
Iran's oil sales rise as sanctions pressure eases - sources
EIA says U.S. propane stocks fall 3.4 mln bbls in week to Jan. 17
U.S. Midwest spot propane prices surge above $4 a gallon
Harsh weather puts Kenya at risk of acute power shortage
Behind Texas Electric Grid Emergency Alert, a Power Plant Failure, Not Demand
The blackouts during Australia's heatwave didn't happen by accident
The US shale boom is overhyped
Existing shale gas and oil wells are showing spectacularly high early decline rates and won´t prevent the world heading towards an energy crisis
Iran Lures Oil Majors with New Contracts Pledge
Electricity Customers Asked To Conserve Electric Power Consumption (US)

## Infrastructure scavenging ##
Metal thefts persist amid Michigan debate for tougher scrapping laws
Bold-as-brass metal thieves start stealing DOOR KNOCKERS
One village, over 700 cable thefts in four months

## Got food? ##
Venezuela About To Run Out Of Food Despite Fresh All Time High In Its Stock Market
Colder weather may threaten 15 percent of US Midwest wheat - forecaster

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Ten Pillars of Financial Independence

## Environment/health ##
Super typhoon victims flee again as rains flood southern Philippines
Biodiversity loss can lead to toxin build up in soil
A new study suggests that a moderate loss of less than 5 percent of soil microbes may compromise some key ecosystem functions and could lead to lower degradation of toxins in the environment.
Officials Reveal Second Chemical Spilled in W. Virginia Waters
Sustainable shale group 'has a tough road'
One quarter of sharks and rays threatened with extinction
More Oil Spilled in 2013 US Rail Incidents than Previous 37 Years Combined
Study: Nighttime smartphone leaves people tired at work the next day

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Verizon reports 1,000-1,999 security data orders
Verizon Communications Inc. says it received between 1,000 and 1,999 government requests for customer information related to national security last year.
The 25 most common passwords of 2013
Putting The Brake On Who Can See Your Car's Data Trail
Neiman Marcus confirms and apologizes for data breach
FBI warns retailers to expect more credit card breaches
Large chunk of Chinese internet traffic redirected to small Wyoming building
Internet Outages, and Growth Fears, Kill Chinese Web Companies
TV News Programs Seem Focused On Making Sure NSA Defenders Get Nearly All Air Time
No Place to Hide: We're All Suspects in Barack Obama's America
Are you opposed to fracking? Then you might just be a terrorist
Microsoft moves to thwart NSA prying as backlash grows

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##
TRIP report: Deficient roads, bridges cost Michigan motorists up to $1,600 a year in 'hidden' costs
America's crumbling infrastructure desperately needs funding
"Endless Growth" Is the Plan and There Is No Plan B

## Japan ##
Japan's nuclear waste problem
Knocking The Nikkei: Japan Down 500 From Yesterday's Highs
Further cuts at Renesas show woes of Japan chip industry
Sharp to close down solar panel business in the U.S. by end of March
PM Abe likens current China-Japan relations to Britain and Germany during World War One
Sony Seen Cutting Forecast Again on Sluggish PC, TV Sales

## China ##
China's Five-Star Hotels Are Desperate for Lower Ratings
China Bailout Costs Jump Seen in Policy Bank Yield Surge
China's Territorial Sovereignty Dispute Is All About Energy
Beijing bans new refining, steel, coal power to curb pollution
China Manufacturing Index Signals Surprise Contraction
Hong Kong Jewelry Sales Hit the Rocks

## UK ##
E.ON runs down power stations despite blackout warning
German firm plans to close one station and reduce output at three others, leaving UK with precious little spare capacity
Water cannon set to be deployed across Britain amid fears of more riots
One in seven over 65s consider renting spare room as they struggle to live off pensions

## US ##
Must read: Dead Mall Syndrome: The Self-Reinforcing Death Spiral of Retail
A 'tsunami' of store closings expected to hit retail
It's Black Friday again! Retail woes as deep as the discounts
Target cuts 475 jobs worldwide
The Minneapolis retailer also said 700 positions will not be filled. Target did not say what departments would be affected by the layoffs or how much money it would save the company.
Report: Troubles Ahead for Commercial Real Estate Loan Refinancing
Novartis to cut 500 jobs in shutting U.S. Diovan plant
More US Women Have Been Jobless For More Than Six Months Than In 2007; Overall The U.S. Has More Than Double The Long-Term Unemployed
Jobless benefits slashed in more states: Is the safety net coming to an end?
Volkswagen's labor chief says U.S. operations a 'disaster'
Silicon Slopes Beckon as U.S. Buyers Shun Costly Homes
False Thesis of the Day: Huge Cash Pile Puts Recovery in Hands of Corporations; Cash Cow Revisited
Looming pension payment could drive city taxes to highest in U.S. (Chicago)
Next year, Chicago must come up with a state-mandated $590 million increase in its contribution to police and fire pension funds. A Crain's analysis of the city's tax and budget options shows that payment could lead to the highest commercial property tax rate in the nation and still leave the city needing to make millions of dollars in spending cuts that could decimate many services.
15 disappearing middle-class jobs
Detroit Gets $350 Million Pension Aid Offer From Snyder
Engineers Found 'Hundreds' of Cracks in California Bridge
Engineers spotted "hundreds" of cracks in welds on parts produced for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in 2008 and were encouraged to stay quiet rather than delay the $6.4 billion project, according to a California Senate committee report.
Treasury Secretary sounds alarm on new debt ceiling deadline
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told House Speaker John Boehner and other congressional leaders Wednesday that Congress must vote to increase the government's borrowing limit before late February.
More city dwellers steer clear of owning cars
Why is a Gigantic War-Blimp About to Fly Above the Skies of Suburban Baltimore?
Special Operations Marines training in New Orleans area
A Stunning 63% Of Florida December Home Purchases Were "All Cash"
Pentagon giving away 13,000 armored trucks
Interest from foreign militaries has been tepid. But they are a hit with stateside police agencies. Almost 200 trucks have been distributed to police departments since August and requests are pending for an additional 750 trucks. The vehicles, many of which feature machine-gun turrets, are off-limits to private citizens and businesses.
The Hidden Agenda Behind Quantitative Easing

And finally...
Why sloths leave the trees to poop
Olympic bathroom stall with two toilets raises eyebrows
Survey Reveals That Employees Look For Extramarital Affairs On Company Time

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


News Links, January 21-22, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Spain's Worst Year for Work Leaves Rajoy Counting Cost of Slump
Neofeudalism: The Global Elite: Rigging the Rules That Fuel InequalityNew report from Oxfam states that 85 of the world's richest people own the wealth of half of the world's population.
Default fears spook Chinese financial markets
'Wealth Effect': Spiffy Hotel Rooms For The 85 Richest Folks Who Own As Much As Poorest Half Of Humanity
Greek Unpaid Electricity Bills Grow By €4 Million Per Day: Over 700,000 Pay In Installments
UN: more than 200 million jobless last year
The United Nations' labor agency says the number of unemployed people around the world rose above 200 million last year as job opportunities failed to grow at the same pace as the global workforce.
Thai Default Risk Soars as Funds Pull $4 Billion: Southeast Asia
French Banks Face €285 Bn Capital Shortfall, Germany €199 Bn, Spain €92 Bn
Iraq 2014 Budget will Collapse without Kurdish Oil Income
The $23 Trillion Credit Bubble In China Is Starting To Collapse – Global Financial Crisis Next?
Study says 'true' eurozone stress test could show over US$1 trillion shortfall in banks
Keynes Is Dead, Abenomics Fizzles, US Fails to Reach Escape Velocity, Stimulus Fatigue
Look: The "Aurum" — A New Way to Hold Gold
Why an algorithm wants your highly skilled job

## Airline Death Spiral ##
Air industry mulls jet fuel hedging options
Poland considering plan to put LOT airlines, airport and services into single holding company
Many passengers dislike airlines' 'slim-line' seats
Great Lakes Airlines paring back operations
Cope with cold travel: Freeze cancels thousands of flights

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Large chunk of Canada's narcotics lost to thieves brandishing guns, knives and home-made flame throwers
Already Toast? Mexico's Energy Reform Buzz vs. Oil Theft, Corruption, And Organized Crime
Russians study Islamic video threatening Olympics
Iran, US, Europe start implementing nuclear deal
Philippine Navy Adds to Regional Arms Build-Up
The Complete Chinese War Preparedness And Military Update
Russia's Sergei Lavrov: Ukraine getting 'out of control'
Peace Talks In Chaos As Greeks Refuse To Refuel Syrian Flight
Cost of Nato's new HQ soars by 25 per cent
Japan scrambled jets against Chinese planes 138 times from October to December
China to start regular patrols from island in South China Sea
Iraq: Al-Qaeda Has Firepower to Occupy Baghdad

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##
Thailand imposes state of emergency over unrest
New anti-protest law triggers violent clashes in Ukraine; Klitschko warns of 'civil war'
Ukraine clashes escalating as West condemns harsh new law
Ukrainian Activists Fire Catapult as Kiev Clashes Persist
Ukrainian anti-government activists, enraged by new laws to subdue dissent, battled police for a second night, building a catapult to launch Molotov cocktails.
Two in Three Americans Upset by Income, Wealth Inequality

## Energy/resources ##
Think "peak oil" is a discredited idea? Think again
Not so Fast on Libyan Oil Optimism
Perfect Storm of Problems Forces Shell to Announce 48% Drop in Earnings
Oil Glut Threatens US Shale Revolution
The biggest problem is the high cost of extracting oil from shale formations. This could turn the "glut" into a shortage overnight. -- RF
Exploiting Unconventional Oil Fields Requires Overcoming Tough Logistics Challenges
CNOOC Estimates Oil Output Growth Below Target For 3rd Year
Propane shortage adds to winter woes (US)
Germany Decides to Cut its Renewable Energy Subsidies
German power sector troubles trigger big and 'bad' ideas
Big problems are prompting big ideas about reforming Germany's utility sector ranging from a super-merger among players in the "big four" to creating a "bad" utility to take over loss-making plants.
New energy demand rising in Middle East
Power prices in Ukraine expected to double to pay for nuclear safety
Last year crushes record for oil-by-rail spills
Brazil to Invest $150B over the Next 4 Years on E&P Activities

## Got food? ##
Opportunity in China's food crunch
Whether or not you are interested in making money feeding China, this article has some sobering news for people who live in China and want to eat. -- RF

## Lifestyle Solutions ##
Can You Live Without Credit Cards?

## Environment/health ##
Now Deemed 'Safe,' Water Supply Sickens Over a Hundred W. Virginia Residents
Migratory Birds Behind South Korea Bird Flu Outbreak
Floods force thousands to evacuate in Indonesian capital
Gut bacteria health may be the key to living longer, disease-free lives, U.S. fruit fly study reveals
U.S. Exports Its Factories, and Pollution, to China And...
What Else Is China Exporting to US? Huge Amounts of Air Pollution
NOAA: World in 2013 was 4th hottest on record
Pesticides 'making bees smaller'

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##
Zombie botnets: Why some crime networks refuse to die
Credit card details on 20 million South Koreans stolen
Chicago City Council Resolution Could Support A Theft-Deterring 'Kill Switch' For Smartphones
2 nabbed at Texas border in credit card fraud case
This is what the Internet will be like without net neutrality
Seven warning signs your identity may have been stolen
Microsoft in more hacking misery
A Microsoft blog has been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army shortly after two of its Twitter accounts and another blog were attacked by the same group.
'123456' tops 'password' on list of worst, weakest Internet passwords

## Japan ##
In Japan, Mayor's Re-Election Adds Fuel to Resistance to US Militarism
Japanese government to push for taking control of inactive bank accounts
As the government's financial situation grows more desperate by the day, this idea, originally floated a few years ago, has recently gained new urgency. Watch for more ideas from governments around the world on how to skim and seize their citizens' wealth. -- RF
Renesas to cut 5,400 employees by March 2016
Toyota may rethink Thai investment plans if crisis lingers
Large amount of cesium flowed into ocean after 2011 typhoon

## China ##
Risk of Major Default in China Shadow Banking (Bloomberg video)
Mega Default In China Scheduled For January 31
China central bank offers emergency funds to banks amid latest cash squeeze
The Sum Of All Risks: Why China Is Heading For A Greek Style Crisis On A Grand Scale
Food security, rural environment top China's policy agenda in 2014
China's Working Population Fell Again in 2013
"China Expected To Announce It Has More Than Doubled Its Gold Reserves", Shanghai Daily

## UK ##
London Job Vacancies Fell 42% in December, Recruiter Says
Shale gas is not the silver bullet to all our energy problems
West Midlands vigilante claims are denied by police chief
How the BBC Over-Egged UK Retail Sales ... And The World Soaked Up Every Word
Poorest people cannot afford costs of dying, report claims
Public space - we must defend our freedoms!
More than 25% of young people share parents' homes
The nuclear family model continues to erode, as I predicted. -- RF

## US ##
Highland Park Michigan Skids Towards Bankruptcy
Looming Pension Payment Could Drive City Taxes To Highest In U.S.
The Retail Death Rattle
Many Baby Boomers Reluctant to Retire–Gallup
America's Feel-Good Oil Bonanza
Residents claim fracking injection wells cause earthquakes
Propane shortage takes toll on rural America (video)
A shortage of propane gas in the Midwest and Northeast is impacting millions of homes and businesses in rural areas beyond the reach of utilities.
Federal Offices Close, Energy Prices Surge Amid U.S. Snow
Vegas casinos now accepting cybercurrency Bitcoin
Sears to close flagship Loop location in April

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